Tab 06 - Snags (Sunken Trees ) on the Missouri

Karl Bodmer

Bodmer’s America


Pulled from the original steel and copper plates, engraved in Paris between 1836 and 1843 under Karl Bodmer's direction, after the artist's own watercolours drawn from nature during the journey.

The engravings are hand-printed in colours, à la poupée, with extensive hand-colouring and some application of gum arabic, in the nineteenth-century manner.

Engraved by Weber and Hurlimann
Printed by Bougeard


Beyond the confluence of the Independence River above Fort Leavenworth on April 24, 1833, the Yellow-Stone entered another snag-infested section of the river in the vicinity of what is now St. Joseph, Missouri. More than an hour was spent in navigating carefully through the piled masses of driftwood before the steamer once again was able to make headway against the Missouri's powerful, downward current.

On April 26 the steamer passed the mouth of the Nemaha River, where it again encountered snags and sandbars. In something of an understatement, Prince Maximilian noted in his journal entry for the day that "navigation is very dangerous on the Missouri."

A pencil drawing in Joslyn's collection dated this same day formed the basis for the later aquatint published in Europe. The print includes a depiction of the boat which was not pictured in Bodmer's original sketch.

Vignette XI represents other views of the lower Missouri, based on studies Bodmer made in late April and early May, 1833.

Text by David Hunt, Director, Stark Museum, Orange, Texas, USA

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Original Print

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